Just as with any good, healthy rela­tion­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tion with employ­ees is key. Only com­mu­ni­cat­ing with employ­ees regard­ing their ben­e­fits pack­age dur­ing open enroll­ment will most def­i­nite­ly result in them not tak­ing full advan­tage of all it has to offer. In an effort to assist employ­ees in under­stand­ing and max­i­miz­ing their ben­e­fits, com­pa­nies should use a year-round ben­e­fits engage­ment strat­e­gy.  Let’s explore some sim­ple ways to set up your annu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan.

START WITH THE END IN MIND

As you begin craft­ing your engage­ment plan, think of the over­all goal you want to accom­plish. Per­haps you sim­ply want your employ­ees to be bet­ter edu­cat­ed on their plan offer­ings. Maybe you’d like to reduce the num­ber of ques­tions that employ­ees ask dur­ing open enroll­ment meet­ings. Or, maybe you want your employ­ees to uti­lize a cer­tain plan ben­e­fit that has been his­tor­i­cal­ly under­used result­ing in high­er costs to the employ­ee or the com­pa­ny. What­ev­er the case, first set your goal for the com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan.

CREATE A CALENDAR

Now that you have an end-goal in mind, start think­ing of how fre­quent­ly you want to com­mu­ni­cate.  Sched­ule your com­mu­ni­ca­tion moments to post con­sis­tent­ly. Maybe you start a “Ben­e­fits Minute” that hits the first Mon­day of the month. Or, start a “Ben­e­fits Blog” that posts every oth­er Fri­day. What­ev­er the case, make the com­mu­ni­ca­tion hap­pen on a sched­ule so that employ­ees know when to expect it and know what it’s called.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Wordy emails, drawn-out meet­ings, and for­ev­er long phone mes­sages will quick­ly get ignored and delet­ed. Instead, fol­low this sim­ple for­mu­la when craft­ing your communication:

  1. Here’s what you need to know about your benefits.

Give a quick overview of the ben­e­fit you are focus­ing on for this par­tic­u­lar communication.

  1. Here’s why it’s impor­tant that you know this.

In a few short sen­tences, explain how this ben­e­fit ben­e­fits the employ­ee whether it be a cost sav­ings, time sav­ings, or sim­ply a great help to them.

      3.  Here’s what you need to do to find out more.

Pro­vide a way to find out more infor­ma­tion on this ben­e­fit by giv­ing a link, an email address, or a phone number.

MIX UP YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLE

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion isn’t one-size-fits-all. Peo­ple learn in dif­fer­ent ways—some may be visu­al learn­ers while oth­ers may be oral learn­ers. Make sure you mix up the way you com­mu­ni­cate to cov­er both types. Also, change up the method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Try emails, explain­er videos, print­ed fly­ers, and quick, stand-up meet­ings. By using a vari­ety of meth­ods, you are able to engage a broad­er audi­ence since your com­pa­ny is com­prised of a range of ages, gen­ders, learn­ers, and tech users.

Engag­ing in a reg­u­lar, year-round com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy for explain­ing employ­ee ben­e­fits will sup­port both the com­pa­ny as well as the employ­ee. Set your strat­e­gy in motion by fol­low­ing the sim­ple tips shared here. And, when you do this, you will see that your employ­ees will reap the ben­e­fits of a healthy under­stand­ing of their ben­e­fit plan.